After a tumultuous year in 2014, the UFC is looking to kick off the New Year with a bang at UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier. On Saturday, January 3, 2014, live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones puts his title on the line against two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier in one of the most anticipated title fights in UFC history.

While the main event is rightfully garnering all of the attention, UFC 182 is an event stacked from top to bottom with great matchups and intriguing bouts. One bout that everyone should be keeping their eye on is the middleweight tilt between Nate Marquardt and Brad Tavares.

After a less than stellar welterweight run, Marquardt made his return to the middleweight division in June with an impressive first round submission win over tough veteran James Te Huna. At 35 years old, Marquardt’s title window is closing fast and if he wants to compete for the UFC middleweight title again, he is going to need to put some impressive wins together. Tavares will prove to be a tough test, but Marquardt has the tools to get the job done.

Utilize Experience

Marquardt has 48 professional bouts under his belt against some of the best competition in the world. He has been in just about every situation imaginable in a fight and he understands how to exploit weaknesses better than most. That experience is going to play a huge role in his bout against Tavares, who has less than one third the experience of Marquardt.

Avoid the Clinch

When the two step into the cage on Saturday, Tavares won’t just be the younger fighter; he’ll also be the bigger man. As the bigger man, Tavares will likely look to clinch with Marquardt and press him against the cage where he can tire the smaller man out. Marquardt can’t let Tavares pressure him and drain all of his energy.

Look for the Takedown

Tavares has three losses on his record and all three came at the hands of skilled wrestlers. Tim Boetsch, Yoel Romero and Aaron Simpson were all able to take Tavares down and beat him. While Marquardt doesn’t have the wrestling background those other fighters possess, he is a skilled functional wrestler and he should be able to drag Tavares to the mat. On the ground, Marquardt is a very dangerous fighter; his ground and pound is solid and his top game submissions are deadly.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.